Q: At nineteen I left home and great family to live life my way. I felt I needed independence. I left behind opportunities for work, education and now I realize the anchor that might have saved me a lot of grief. I moved across the country seeking freedom and fortune. Freedom, was great! I was in great shape and had picture perfect teeth.
My first visit to the dentist in my new location was similar to the last time at home; “perfect teeth” said the dentist. Two years went by and I had adopted a laidback lifestyle so to speak. I was smoking pot daily and thought life was good. My visit to the dentist wasn’t glowing. He found six or seven spots of decay and my gums weren’t doing very well either. He fixed the teeth but in less than a year I was back, this time with a toothache. I needed two root canals and several crowns. The decay had taken off like nothing. My dad paid…again. I got all fixed up and promised to take care of my teeth. Mom and Dad weren’t impressed. I have to say I was using harder drugs and found myself out of control.
Another year and decay was under my new crowns; front, back, sides of just about every tooth. The treatment plan was huge and dad wouldn’t pay. My lifestyle didn’t allow me to pay. Over the next year I lost most of my teeth to decay. Today I have dentures that don’t work especially in the lower. I’ve been clean for about five years. Am I a candidate for implants? Can I get a full set of teeth like I had when I was twenty.
A: To give you a broad-brush stroke answer, almost anything is possible with today’s technology. Thoughtful analysis and planning, with careful execution of that technology and time for advanced procedures can yield miraculous results. It depends on what you want and what you can afford.
If it’s your lower denture that bothers you the most, fixed teeth can be put in place in one session--your unstable lower denture problem is solved immediately. That might be all you need. If however you want to look… and function like your twenty-year-old self, that will require more time and patience; and of course, more trips to the dentist.
If you have been healthy and clean for several years you can proceed expecting your body to handle the rehabilitative bone grafting and implant placing that will form the foundation of your desired “movie star smile”. In the assessment phase your dental surgeon will give you a good idea of the plausibility of your expectations. Congrats on your rehab and your dream.